19th May, 2019
Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), is under a serious attack by members of the Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN).
In its letter, signed by Taiwo Adeoye, ASAN President, dated 29 March, 2019 and addressed to the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Abuja, members complained about the Per Sec’s 27 February 2019 removal of the Acting Director of the Department of Animal Husbandry Services (DAHS), Mrs. Funke Omagbemi, a Registered Animal Scientist (RAS) and her replacement with Dr. Bright Wategire, an Agricultural Economist who was serving as Director (PSO). At the time, Watergire was serving in the office of the Permanent Secretary.
There was a lingering issue of professional rivalry especially between Veterinary Doctors and Animal Scientists. To tackle the problem, Mrs. Winifred E. Oyo-Ita, the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF), in her letter dated 17th December, 2012 Reference No. OHCSF/MOS/93/vol.III/40 approved a new organizational structure for FMARD. Similarly in February, 2015 the Head of Civil Service of the Federation approved the restructuring of FMARD into 19 Departments.
In the new structure, two separate Departments, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services and Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services were created from the defunct Federal Department of Livestock and Pest Control Services to enable the respective professionals chart their careers in the Departments relevant to their training and knowledge.
However, these gains were truncated by the Perm Sec as stated above. As revealed by Adeoye, at that time, ASAN pointed out the implications to the Head of Service of the Federation, which also are very relevant to the latest development, as follows: That this posting is in clear contravention of Public Service Rules 020506 (ii) which states that: posting of officers within the Ministry to post outside their professional cadres should be prohibited. That this posting is also a contravention of the Schedule of Service which clearly states the entry requirement Livestock Officer/Livestock Development Officer cadre to be a bachelor degree in Agriculture with options in Animal Science, Animal Production, Animal Husbandry and Range Management disciplines.
That this posting is in clear contravention of Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) Law section 4(2)) which clearly specifies that only a Registered Animal Scientist is appointed as Director of the Department of Animal Production and Husbandry Services.
That the posting is viewed as a deliberate attempt to revive an over 40 year old industrial disharmony that culminated in the split of the defunct Federal Department of Livestock and Pest Control Services into two. That this posting is viewed as a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the office of HOCSOF that gave approval for the restructuring of the Ministry aimed at enhancing efficiency, productivity and stemming of industrial disharmony in the bureaucracy.